September 1, 2009

Like the Queen on a chessboard, Hurricane Jimena advances

What exciting and alarming things will happen today, I wonder? The storm advances, now a Category 5. The sky is dark and threatening (this morning we had the lights on inside the house, it was too dark without them on); this morning we had thunder and lightening and the hurricane had not made landfall and was south of Los Cabos yet. The Muchachas (my maids and the cook) and I stood outside taking pictures of the darkening sky and it started to sprinkle a little bit. They helped me carry all our little pots of cactus starts that we have been raising inside and put them on the sideboard which we have covered with plastic. I don’t want them to get soaked and sloppy before we can get them in. I will drag the roses to a protected corner, the pots are too big and heavy to bring inside.

Sometime today we will have to bring in the patio furniture and other outside accoutrements so the wind doesn’t blow them away when it really starts to get nasty. Esperando will need to put up the home made storm shutters (plastic sheeting over window frames so we can prevent some of the water that the storm will dump from coming into the house). It isn’t expected to be more than a Category 1 storm by the time it reaches us. I know from past experience that all the hired help is not expected to come work when they have their own homes to attend to, so it will just be Esperando and me and the mops (we have just had Señor Jueves go out and buy us two new large mops, the kind you use for sopping up water, not cleaning floors.)

Photo of Arbol de India on right before being trimmed by the bomberos.

This morning the vigilante came to the kitchen and told the girls who alerted me that something was happening up at our ‘new’ old house. Since I couldn’t understand what they were telling me, I walked up to the house to find the fire department, accompanied by the only fire truck in town, chopping the limbs off the enormous shade tree (with a machete) that stands by our old French house. Last night our vigilante suggested we should have some of the limbs over the roof removed so that the hurricane winds couldn’t damage the roof. This morning without any inducement from us, here is the fire truck and crew. I am sort of staggered. Esperando is gone off on his morning walk with the dog. I ask them to please wait before they cut down any more as he will show up shortly. It is such a grand old tree I would hate to see it hacked to death. I feel a little embarrassed that we are getting such preferential treatment even though the Mine did donate the truck to the town. When Esperando comes in he has already passed by the fire truck and bomberos, he said it gave him a bit of a heart attack to see the fire truck parked in front of the house we are remodeling. The bomberos told Esperando that we are going to get a lot of water out of this storm, and they would just take a little bit off the tree. When he started going through his emails there was one from the mine safety guy telling us that the firemen would come to deal with our tree this morning. When you can’t keep on top of your millions of emails 24/7 you just don’t know what kind of interesting notices have been sent to you.

Having left those nice boys the bomberos en cargada of our tree, it was with great dismay that I returned an hour later and saw what was left of it. It made me sick to my stomach. The poor tree has been hacked and chopped and will not be offering us any shade for another 10 years. I knew in my heart that this cutting back of the tree was a really bad idea left in the hands of these guys. After all it had weathered countless previous nasty storms. They told Esperando, oh don’t worry it will grow back in no time. I don’t have the least confidence in this statement, it will take the tree many years to recover.

We went to run a few errands and I sat in the truck while Esperando went into the paint store, it is on the main drag. There was quite a bit of traffic, all the fishermen were hauling their boats out of the water on rusty creaky trailers, many with flat wobbly tires such that the trailers were scraping the ground in low places. The pickups hauling the trailers were loaded for bear with all the accomplices and relatives of said fishermen riding along in the bed. The trailers were piling into a vacant lot to unload boats and the in-coming trailers with boats and outgoing boatless trailers were creating quite a traffic jam. A cop held up further back in the line had his lights on and was sounding his siren to signal his displeasure. Three sailboats are still tethered down below in the harbor, I guess they are not planning on leaving or would have done so by now. They are owned by people (gringos) that live here year round. I am surprised they didn’t decide to get out of Dodge while the going was still good. There is a sense of hurried preparedness downtown; lines to get water griffons; lines to get money at the bank; lines of jumbo plastic terracotta colored tubs for catching water that drips from your ceiling water for sale on the sidewalk in front of the hardware store; and lines of military vehicles in front of the main plaza. Most remarkable is the utter silence that accompanies all of this, especially in Mexico the land of music with no music playing anywhere.

Esperando has gone off to board up the office windows. I sent the Muchachas home early, about 10 minutes after the sprinkles first started up. I sent the dog out to poop. Now it is pouring down rain, no wind yet. I think we have a wet 2-3 days ahead of us. It must be a very broad storm mass as the eye is still considered to be 33 hours away from us and we are already getting a steady rain.

Arbol de India after getting butchered by the bomberos.

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